When a former passes end an area, it means a adjust in the weather. Numerous fronts cause weather occasions such as rain, thunderstorms, gusty winds, and tornadoes. In ~ a cold front, there may be dramatic thunderstorms. In ~ a warmth front, there might be low stratus clouds. Usually, the skies clear as soon as the front has actually passed.

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What is a Weather Front?

A weather prior is a transition zone between two different air masses at the Earth"s surface. Each air mass has distinct temperature and also humidity characteristics. Regularly there is turbulence at a front, i beg your pardon is the borderline whereby two various air masses come together. The turbulence can cause clouds and storms.

Instead of bring about clouds and also storms, part fronts just cause a readjust in temperature. However, some storm fronts begin Earth"s largest storms. Dry waves space fronts that develop in the tropical Atlantic ocean off the coast of Africa. These fronts can develop into dry storms or hurricanes if conditions allow.

Fronts move throughout the Earth"s surface ar over lot of days. The direction of activity is often guided through high winds, such together Jet Streams. Landforms prefer mountains can also change the path of a front.

There are 4 different species of weather fronts: cold fronts, heat fronts, stationary fronts, and also occluded fronts.

Cold Front


A side check out of a cold former (A, top) and how the is stood for on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

A cold front creates when a cold air mass pushes into a warmer air mass. Cold fronts can produce dramatic alters in the weather. They move fast, up to twice as quick as a heat front. As a cold front moves into an area, the more heavier (more dense) cool wait pushes under the lighter (less dense) warm air, causing it to increase up right into the troposphere. Lifted warm air front of the former produces cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds and also thunderstorms, prefer in the picture on the left (A).

As the cold front passes, winds come to be gusty. There is a sudden drop in temperature, and likewise heavy rain, sometimes with hail, thunder, and lightning. Atmospheric pressure changes from falling to climbing at the front. After ~ a cold former moves with your area, friend may notification that the temperature is cooler, the rain has actually stopped, and also the cumulus clouds are replaced by stratus and stratocumulus clouds or clean skies.

On weather maps, a cold front is stood for by a heavy blue line v filled-in triangles along it, choose in the map on the left. The triangles are prefer arrowheads pointing in the direction that the prior is moving. Notice on the map that temperatures at the floor level change from heat to cold as you overcome the former line.

Warm Front


A side view of a heat front (A, top) and also how the is represented on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit: Lisa Gardiner

A warm front creates when a warmth air massive pushes right into a cooler waiting mass, shown in the picture to the ideal (A). Warmth fronts often carry stormy weather together the warm air mass at the surface rises over the cool air mass, do clouds and storms. Warmth fronts move much more slowly than cold fronts due to the fact that it is more complicated for the warm air to press the cold, dense air throughout the Earth"s surface. Warmth fronts often type on the eastern side of low-pressure solution where warmer wait from the southern is propelled north.

You will regularly see high clouds like cirrus, cirrostratus, and middle clouds like altostratus ahead of a heat front. This clouds type in the warmth air that is high above the cool air. Together the former passes over an area, the clouds become lower, and also rain is likely. There can be thunderstorms roughly the warm front if the wait is unstable.

On weather maps, the surface place of a warmth front is stood for by a solid red line with red, filled-in semicircles along it, choose in the map ~ above the best (B). The semicircles suggest the direction the the front is moving. They are on the side of the line whereby the front is moving. An alert on the map that temperatures at ground level are cooler in front of the front 보다 behind it.

Stationary Front


A stationary front is represented on a map by triangle pointing in one direction and also semicircles sharp in the other direction.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

A stationary front creates when a cold prior or warm front stop moving. This happens when two masses the air room pushing against each other, yet neither is an effective enough to move the other. Winds blow parallel come the front rather of perpendicular can aid it remain in place.

A stationary front might stay put for days. If the wind direction changes, the front will certainly start relocating again, becoming either a cold or heat front. Or the front might break apart.

Because a stationary prior marks the boundary in between two wait masses, there are often distinctions in air temperature and wind on opposite sides of it. The weather is regularly cloudy follow me a stationary front, and rain or snow frequently falls, especially if the front is in an area of short atmospheric pressure.

On a weather map, a stationary former is displayed as alternating red semicircles and also blue triangles like in the picture at the left. An alert how the blue triangles point in one direction, and the red semicircles allude in the contrary direction.

Occluded Front


An occluded prior is stood for on a weather map by a purple line with alternate triangles and semicircles.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

Sometimes a cold front follows right behind a heat front. A warm air mass pushes right into a cooler air fixed (the heat front), and also then one more cold waiting mass pushes into the heat air mass (the cold front). Due to the fact that cold fronts relocate faster, the cold front is likely to overtake the warmth front. This is recognized as one occluded front.

At one occluded front, the cold air mass indigenous the cold former meets the cool air the was front of the warm front. The heat air rises as these air masses come together. Occluded fronts usually form around locations of short atmospheric pressure.

There is frequently precipitation follow me an occluded front indigenous cumulonimbus or nimbostratus clouds. Wind changes direction together the front passes and also the temperature either warms or cools. After ~ the prior passes, the skies is commonly clearer, and also the waiting is drier.

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On a weather map, shown to the left, one occluded prior looks like a purple line with alternating triangles and semicircles pointing in the direction the the prior is moving. It end at a low press area presented with a huge ‘L’ on the map, begins at the other finish when cold and warm fronts connect.